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SEC’s Approval of Bitcoin ETFs, FL’s Aggressive Children’s Online Safety Bill & More

January 16, 2024 (2 min read)

SEC Approval of Bitcoin ETFs First Step of ‘Technological Revolution’ in Finance

Last week the Securities and Exchange Commission approved 11 applications to establish exchange-traded funds that track the current price of Bitcoin. The go-ahead for some of the world’s largest financial firms, including BlackRock and Fidelity, to offer the ETFs gives the cryptocurrency industry some regulatory legitimacy—although SEC Chair Gary Gensler cautioned the approvals did not constitute an endorsement of Bitcoin—and will provide an easier way for retail and institutional investors to get exposure to the digital currency.

Blackrock CEO Larry Fink said the ETF approvals were just “step one in the technological revolution in the financial markets.”

“Step two is going to be the tokenization of every financial asset,” he said.

The tokenization of real world assets like gold has been a hot topic in the financial world recently. (NEW YORK TIMES, CNBC)

FL House Panel Advances Aggressive Children’s Online Safety Bill

Florida’s House Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee advanced a bill (HB 1) last week that would bar those under the age of 16 from having a social media account and require social media companies to confirm the age of new and existing users. The measure, which is a top priority for House Speaker Paul Renner (R), goes significantly further than legislation passed last year in other states, including Arkansas (SB 396), Ohio (HB 33) and Utah (SB 152), requiring minors to obtain parental consent to access social media platforms. (PLURIBUS NEWS)

Youth Privacy Group Planning New Push

A group known as the Kids Code Coalition said it has revised the youth data privacy model law it patterned after California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code—which has been blocked by a legal challenge from the tech industry—and will seek to get it enacted this year in Maryland, Minnesota and New Mexico. Illinois and Vermont could also consider versions of the law. (PLURIBUS NEWS)

Judge Blocks OH Social Media Parental Consent Law

A federal judge issued an order last week temporarily blocking implementation of an Ohio law passed last year as part of a budget bill (HB 33) requiring parental consent for children under the age of 16 to access social media apps. U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley ruled that the law, which had been scheduled to take effect Jan. 15, was too broad, as the tech industry trade group NetChoice had alleged in the lawsuit it filed against the law on Jan. 5. “Foreclosing minors under sixteen from accessing all content on websites that the Act purports to cover, absent affirmative parental consent, is a breathtakingly blunt instrument for reducing social media’s harm to children,” Marbley wrote in his order. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

—Compiled by SNCJ Managing Editor KOREY CLARK

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